Pythian Games

put on your track shoes and write the miles

Archive for June 2008

Hecate at the Crossroads

with 7 comments


Hecate stands at the crossroads with dog and stoat
to fill baskets
with words of wisdom.

Heather Blakey June 2008

Written by Heather Blakey

June 29, 2008 at 11:29 am

Papa’s Mushrooms

with 8 comments

This is an excerpt from a manuscript titled the Christmas Eve Shop. The character of Sophia is named after my grandmother and it is her story of the mushrooms that my mother told often over the years. I thought perhaps the baskets of mushrooms would fit the cultural theme of this prompt and decided to extend the piece to the end of the book’s chapter.

* * * * * *

“Why Don’t you rest for awhile, Sophia? Sharon offered. “I’ll stir for you.”
“Stir, but don’t steal too many. Already I have only half. Mel is helping, too.” Mel shrugged and smiled his broad smile.
“Your tree has some brown leaves,” Sharon noticed, pushing aside the embroidered curtain and looking out the kitchen window. “Autumn’s going to be early this year.”
She returned to her task as the couple sat and discussed the pros and cons of her observation. A few minutes later she informed Sophia, “The mushrooms seem about done. Shall I put them in the kapusta?”
The older woman got up and joined her at the stove. “They are ready. Not so good like Polish mushrooms, but what can you do? In my country, always we would go to pick mushrooms, Mama, Papa, my sisters and me. Each one carried a little basket, and when we came home Mama would check, make sure all the mushrooms were safe. Even Papa’s basket. Papa would watch her closely.” Sophia’s eyes sparkled at the memory, and her lips twitched as she suppressed a smile. “He was always sure his mushrooms were perfect. But Mama would look carefully at every one and then she would make a sigh, and take two or three little ones out and throw them away.
“One day just before I leave for America, I see Mam go to the garbage and take back Papa’s mushrooms. ‘Your papa,’ she says, ‘is a good man, but when I married him I saw one thing I did not like. Always your papa is so sure he is right. This is no good. So every time I throw away some mushrooms.’”
As Sophia ended her story she began mashing the potatoes. Mel put out the butter and cut the homemade bread into fat slices; Sharon stacked the plates and arranged the mismatched knives and forks. Each worked in contented silence. Even the sparrows had stopped their chattering and were perched, puffed up and drowsy, on their branches. The late-day sun shining through the leaves of Sophia’s tree sent dappled patterns of light and shadow over the walls, floor, and ceiling of the old-fashioned kitchen until the plain wooden furniture glowed.

Finally the meal was ready. Plates were heaped with mounds of mashed potatoes covered with the Polish cabbage and its chunks of pink ham and slivers of brown and black mushrooms. Bread and butter were passed back and forth, and still the spell of silence held.
As the golden afternoon began to melt away, bright patches of sunlight dimmed and faded into shadows. Outside, the first cricket began to chirp, and far in the distance, a lonely cicada whirred.
Evening entered by degrees, tiptoeing into corners, ducking under the table and chairs, layering tone on tone of gray until the darkness was nearly complete.
At last, when Sophia could avoid it no longer, she turned on a brass table lamp whose yellow shade seemed to have caught and imprisoned the setting sun. The three friends talked in hushed tones of times past, the people they’d loved, and the joys that would never be relived. Sophia talked the most, about her childhood in Poland, about her first years un America, but most of all about her husband.
When Sharon and Mel had gone, she stood alone, fingering the embroidered flowers that were still vivid after so many years. Moonlight filtered through branches and leaves, illuminating the threads like embellishments on a vellum manuscript. Why hadn’t she told them about the curtains?
People had been poor in her little mountain village. When Stanislaus gave her the fine material and colored silk in order to sew a beautiful dress for festivals, she’d burst into tears. Asking how he’d offended her, he’d tried kissing her tears away until she’d shyly pointed to the bare windows in the little farmhouse and begged to make curtains instead. He’d laughed and kissed her again, promising to make every day a festival. Fifty years earlier on her wedding day.

Written by porchsitter

June 29, 2008 at 12:05 am

Posted in Baskets

Tagged with , ,

Basket of Herbs

with 10 comments

Note:This image is not of my grandmother – alas,no photos remain of her.

My grandmother Bridget Kavanagh gathered herbs in a basket, a creel woven from the flexible willow. She knew the Irish landscape intimately,what it could provide, what should be avoided. Her sons laughingly called her `the witch’, but they knew her poultices and potions could heal.

Her boys were the hunters, going out looking for scrap metal, busking on the streets with banjo and old ballads, bringing home fresh caught hare, rabbit or fish. She was the gatherer – she knew where the wild thyme grew.

The basket was an essential piece of equipment for a Traveller woman. On the one hand, they could be made to be sold. On the other hand, those that were kept had many uses, and hung from the caravans filled with pegs, herbs or dry kindling.

A larger basket could be used for a baby, wrapped in a cosy shawl. A life in a basket – it was concept traveller women knew well.

When I was young,I carried a basket rather than a handbag. A handbag simply wasn’t big enough for the things i hauled around with me – my life in a basket. There was my wooden flute, and the latest piece of music I was learning to play. There was always a drawing pad and notebook, ready for whichever muse struck me. A small box of Windsor and Newton water colours and a screw topped jar of water. The latest book I was reading. Plus bits and pieces picked up along the way – shells and driftwood from a walk on the beach, gum nuts and leaves from a walk in the woods, pebbles, flowers pressed between the leaves of my book, and, yes, herbs – although it was their aromatic scents that attracted me rather than their medicinal properties.

In my basket today you will still find these things. I still play old airs on the flute occasionally, I still carry notebooks and drawing pads around (although a digital camera has been added and there are watercolour pencils instead of the paintbox), and I still gather shells, seeds and driftwood. I’m a compulsive beachcomber. But now other things have been added – small gifts for grandchildren, a book one of my daughters would love to read, an extra pair of mittens and a woolly hat for my youngest grandchild. My life, and my basket, have grown much richer.

Written by Gail Kavanagh

June 28, 2008 at 11:58 pm

Posted in Baskets

It’s All In The Hips

with 3 comments

How boring is the world we live in?

I’m glad you asked because I have THE answer.

It is so boring that

no one made a big deal out of the fact that

Hula Hoops have been with us for 50 years.


So get your Hoops out and  Hula Already

What are you waiting for?

The Anniversary of the Yo- Yo

which I’ll bet gets ignored too…


Written by Anita Marie

June 28, 2008 at 6:36 pm

the basket of possibility

with 6 comments

Bristol, a city of famous seafarers, travelers and adventurers, was my birthplace. It is also home to the first hot air balloon factory of Don Cameron . In keeping with the traveler within me, it is therefore fitting that my culture basket should the basket of a hot air balloon. I never thought I would ever get the chance to fly in a hot air balloon – symbol of my dreams – but I have, 3 times. Each flight was magical. The silence of the early morning, the quality of the light and, above all the silence – except for the roar of the flames holding the balloon above.

culture basket

hot air balloon

hot air balloon

hot air balloons

All those qualities of the early adventurers are my cultural heritage: invention, imagination, creativity, dreams, inspiration and the thirst for knowledge.

(the photos were taken at the 11th world hot air balloon festival, Meysembourg, Luxembourg, in August 1993)

Written by traveller2006

June 28, 2008 at 12:30 pm

Posted in Art, Baskets


with 4 comments

It seemed like such an easy thing.

Red ink.

Swirled and pressed.

Pounded within my flesh.

Marking me. Branding me.

How little did I know.

How could I not see?

A link.

A continuity.

Binding me ever deeper with the forces

That came before me.

Ancestor upon Ancestor.

Realm upon realm.

Taking me in,

Drawing me ever dear.

Speaking to me in tongues

To which my blood alone could respond

So forgotten was the lore.

Now as my body absorbs

Taking in flesh and bone and mettle

Consuming the history.

Breaking me open bit by bit

Stuffing the Mysteries inside

While at the same time

Yanking them out

Forcing me to recognize

The power that flowers

Blooming at all levels

Heart and body and mind

Spirit drenched in the blood

Come from centuries

Wars and kings

Bards and men

Poets and fiefs

Clear eyes and dark browed

The thrumming beat of the Northmen

Cleve my brittle soul

Encouraging me to be more

To leave my past alone

And to take up banner and shield for them

Once more

written by Raven TK

Written by Tabitha Low

June 26, 2008 at 9:04 pm

Posted in A Poem a Day, RavenTK

Ocean Mother

with 3 comments

Wrap me up in your long arms

Dragging me under

Stroking my hair

As we drown within

Drawing up deep

Snuffling the sand

Burrowing in

Back and within


Helpless and captured

I am nothing but yours

Arms over arm

Mine over yours

A writhing mass

Interlocked and seething

Here I am

There you are

We and me

You in me

Ripping aside the dreams

The facades

It took me so long to build up

Tearing away brick by brick

Every single wall

All those lifetimes

It took to them build

Here I am

Ink in my throat

Frozen as we move along

In the free flow of the abyss

Sucked along

Spiralling as we go

Inside and outside

Further out to go

Meandering ever inward

Ever onward

Hearts beating nearly one

Completely undone

I am utterly enveloped

Devoured my soul

And lost


Cast aside

My marrow has been sparked

Drawn forth

Set accursed and aflame

Banished from sight and hearing

Pulled ever on, ever in


Always moving

Between one level and the next

And in between yet again

Through wet and dry

And ice and sand

The volcanic graves

Bursting forth from within

Shoving me inside the cave

To throw me out

The bright light of the sun


As I swallow down the Moon

Expelling the salt

The chaff

And moving on and on and on

Again and again

Aching to feel your touch

To know your strength

Teacher fellow mother

Harken unto the darkest call

And set me free

And freeing me

Enslave me

With the knowledge

As well as the testing

There to always be

Burned alive

Buried alive

Swallowed whole

And I am nothing


Than ever I could be

With you

Glowing and working


Inside of me

written by Raven TK

Written by Tabitha Low

June 26, 2008 at 8:52 pm

Posted in A Poem a Day, RavenTK

Girls Will Be Girls

with one comment

Girls Will Be Girls, originally uploaded by themagickbox.

Summer (?) Kit Paper & Elements by Dielle
Berry Licious Alpha by Vicki

Last Saturday, at a lunch for visiting relatives from Australia, I took this picture of two of my nieces having an impromptu make-up session. The girl looking at the mirror is not usually allowed by her dad to wear make-up, but he happened to have to leave right after the lunch. Her cousin decided to take advantage of his absence to whip out her make-up kit and turn our dining table into a make-up studio. 😀

I’m closest to the make-up owner, we’re closest in age (I’m just two years older than her) and our families are the closest in our big extended family. It’s always fun when we get together, her mom (my cousin) and my dad are usually the “schemers”, organizing our parties and out-of-town trips and other events. (And I’m usually the one made to document all those events. :P)

Written by foxndragon

June 26, 2008 at 2:31 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with

Dreams for Sale!

with 4 comments

The sleepy basket girl
walks through the pink Lemurian mist
each early morning,
singing out, in a sweet alto voice,
“Dreams for sale!
Look in my basket,
full of pretty dreams!
Pick any one you like!
Only cost you a quick kindness,
don’t cost nothin’ to look!
Old dreams, new dreams,
anything you can dream of!
Anything can happen today
in the City of Ladies!
Come on, now, my dears,
you beautiful Lemurian dreamers,
Try one of my fresh dreams right now –
today could be amazing! (Stay tuned…)”
And where she walks she leaves a magic trail
of pink and purple glittering pixie dust,
a few sand dollars, some pretty shells,
the heavy, sweet scent of longing
for what could have been,
and just a hint of what may yet be…
by Kerry Vincent (c) 2008

Written by kvwordsmith

June 25, 2008 at 11:30 am

The Blue Pot

with 9 comments

Maribeth Stumpft did not see the crack at first. She desultorily typed at her keyboard, translating the software designers’ notes into Help instructions that would be comprehensible by consumers.

A faint rattle and cricking sound caught her attention and she glanced over to the blue ceramic pot that served as her pen and pencil holder. She did not notice anything unusual. She returned to her typing.

Maribeth had worked at the software company for nearly 18 years as a technical writer. She had degrees in writing and at one time had won a number of prestigious writing awards. Fat lot of luck those awards had gotten her, she thought as she pounded just a little harder than usual on her keyboard.

Again, she heard a rattle and creaking sound. This time she saw the crack in the blue pot. How did that happen?, she wondered. Probably the cleaning crew had knocked it off her desk.

“Maribeth!” Dora Smither’s nasily whine cut through the air. “Are you going to have that section done by lunchtime? If not, you’ll have to work through the hour.”

“Yes, Dora, it’ll get done on time.” Dora was a thorn in Maribeth’s side. In spite of the positive feedback she got from various department heads and the vice-president, Maribeth rarely got the same from Dora, her supervisor. To the contrary, Dora had it in for Maribeth and found ways to remind her that the company was doing her a favor to keep her around for so many years.

My writing IS good, Maribeth fumed as she hit the enter key hard enough to make everything on her desk seem to jump and rattle.

Maribeth, in fact, loved to write and spent as much time as she could in that effort. However, quite often, she was so dog-tired at the end of the day, so emotional drained from being terrorized by Dora that she rarely had any good ideas and no energy to put the few she had on to paper. Maribeth sighed. She felt very old.

Suddenly, the blue pot hopped on her desk. Startled, Maribeth stared at it for a moment.

“Stupid mice! They’re into everything!” She reached over to the pot and pulled out all the pens, the ruler, the letter opener and pencils. As she rose to take the pot outside to release the mouse, she saw to her astonishment, that the pot was empty.

She slowly placed the pot back on the desk. It sat there for a moment, but just as Maribeth started to relax, the pot nearly jumped off her desk as it began to rattle again.

Maribeth pushed her chair away from the desk and slammed against the wall. “Dora! Dora, come here!” she shouted. There was no answer. “Angela? Fred? Anybody, come here!”


As the pot continued to shake and hop on her desk, she noticed the crack in its side starting to widen.

“Dora! Anybody!” she shouted louder. Then she looked around and saw that she was completely alone in the office suite.

“Let me out!” hissed a voice. Maribeth froze and stared at the pot. It still gyrated wildly and the crack was nearly an inch apart. Maribeth gasped as she saw a pair of green eyes in the darkness of the crack. “Let me out now!,” came the voice again.

Maribeth scrambled to the nearest door. She pulled on the handle. The door would not open.

She began pounding on it. “DORA! This is not funny!! Angela? Fred? C’mon you guys!”

Maribeth looked back at her desk. The pot was beginning to disintegrate and an awful laughter pealed from the pot. “I’m almost free and I’m coming for you” said the voice.

Then with a loud crack the pot exploded.

Maribeth screamed and frantically pounded on the door. With a great bang, the door gave way and Maribeth fell through it onto the ground.

For a moment she laid there, stunned, her eyes closed. At first, silence enveloped her but then she began to hear the sound of chirping birds. She opened her eyes. Green leaves, dripping with dew surrounded her. She sat up and saw a sign nearby. It pointed up a hill and read: “To the Abbey.” She then looked at the ground.

Scattered all around her were enormous shards of blue ceramic.

Image and Story: L. Gloyd © 2006, Revised 2008

Written by Pelican1

June 25, 2008 at 3:53 am

Posted in Baskets

Sister Basket

with 5 comments

Sister Basket

For Tahirih – Poetess

My sister made me a basket

Woven in a rainbow garden

Where petals soft and warm

Didn’t want to fade in the sun.

She could enchant any carpet snake

Yellow or black

They’re still swaying to her music’s tack

Forward and back, forward and back.

Light sang of colours woven into a spirit kite

Skimming the river of rainbow sisters everywhere.

Her basket of poetry was tossed

Into the centre of the sun

There it burnt strong and true

Until red flames became blue.

The Faith in her basket

Said “Send me to the sky

I’ll come back like a Phoenix just you wait”

She danced around a square and found

She couldn’t really fit.

She found a circle and could not


But nine doors of a temple opened out

And she found a basket woven in a daisy,

Wrapped in a rose.

It was no time to pose

No time to fade in the sun.

She sang a song that spiralled out

Into her rainbow garden

Left petals soft and warm

On the path that she first laid there.

(c) words and image all rights reserved gumbootspearlz

Using Kerry’s prompt

If you want to know who Tahirih was try these links- she was an awesome poetess and historical figure.


More of June’s Work can be found at World Citizen Dreaming

Written by June

June 25, 2008 at 3:30 am

Realm of Magic

with 6 comments

Underwater Magic Five

Realm of Magic


just beyond

where land meets sea,.

from low tide

to the very edge of darkness

lies the The realm of magic.

Sunshine’s probing light,

scatters in the

ever moving current,

as in salty groves,

strange forests sway

and tiny finned ones,

dressed in rainbow colors, swim.

He of many tentacles stands guard

behind a weaving blade of green,

and a jelly,

in pulsating movement,


A mermaid rests

on a bed of unseen current,

her golden hair streaming upward,

reaching for and pulling in the sunshine.

She is the Queen,

ruling beauty of her domain.

Would that I could forever be

her Lady in Waiting.

Vi Jones

©June 23, 2008

Written by woodnymph

June 24, 2008 at 3:04 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Greetings Quin

leave a comment »

Written by cronelogical

June 22, 2008 at 2:16 am

Posted in Uncategorized

The Traveler

with 6 comments

The Traveler

Though my hands are busy with washing pans

My soul is away from home.

It travels the breadth of foreign lands

where life’s busy highways roam.

Though my hands are busy with needle and thread

And a mending basket high,

or floured skin fragrant from making bread,

my soul is not nearby.

Though my hands are busy with brush and broom

and fitting things in their place,

or aching and faded from dusting a room,

my soul soars out to space.

My hands are busy with a myriad of things

in the routine tasks of my day,

but thoughts deck my soul with gossamer wings

and send it darting away.

Written by riverleigh

June 21, 2008 at 11:06 pm

Posted in A Poem a Day

Medicine bag

with 10 comments

identity boots 2- self portrait flag and feet

My healing bag is made of thin strands of synthetic plastic that are dyed in the traditional colours of my mother’s village in Papua New Guinea.

It is lined with silk from the kimono of a Japanese Princess. Persian Paisley Patterns adorn the silk and soften that synthetic plastic when I place my hands inside to feel what’s there. It is a healing bag that says remember Mother Theresa, Remember Tahirih, Remember all those soul women who wandered through the soul garden almost every step of their lives.

It is full of the choicest tiny strawberries to eat and smell. Another time my fingers are covered with the scent of the apricot coloured roses at my wedding. Things to remember, to savour fill the bag and in moderation they are healing.

Words waft out of the prayer book I have placed there, chants of Persian Poetess Tahirih, run through my veins and I feel the sisterhood of Faith and creativity and sacrifice. Love is a verb, prayers want to lift me to action.

The ocean cools me and now I swim with the dolphins and mermaids my girl students seem to love so much. But these mermaid girls can drive monster trucks under the sea, and the monster truck boys can learn to care for the ocean. The healing bag says humanity needs two wings, and both must be strong.

Both countries of mother and father… surround me with their love and give me gifts to tell my stories, to heal my soul, and to find that identity is what you store in your healing bag not just what you are born with.

Medicine bag prompt

I enjoyed the medicine bag prompt, My grandfather on the PNG side was a traditional healer.

More of June’s Work can be found at World Citizen Dreaming

Written by June

June 16, 2008 at 3:44 am